I’ve lost count of the number of reports I’ve received over the years. The Engine completely destroyed itself WHEN the engine ?mounts? failed.
The value of these old designs has been the topic of other articles, but I’ll mention that good ones are good, and bad ones are indeed bad. We need remember that the Chinese have lived under a top down management style for how many years? Imagine what it’s like to be able to think for yourself and make business decisions for a private business in Mainland China. Some are good decisions, and some are helping to ruin China’s image. they don’t have a lot of rules at present, because no one really had any freedom to make decisions, business ethics? what’s that? It reminds me of the old west, when people shot from the hip 🙂
There are all kinds of opportunities to be screwed with Chinese goods, and some examples might be shortcuts in manufacturing demanded by your supplier in order to improve his profit margin. Perhaps he asks the engine builder to leave out the oil pressure relief, and maybe even use up that pile of castings that didn’t quite meet the standards for #1 parts. Since the engines are going to get re-branded as ‘happy flying Monkey’ why would the builder care?
I know of one engine design that wasn’t selling all that well in China, and the builder had a pile of parts stacked up in an unheated part of the plant. The engine was off the assembly line, (due to poor sales) and when an order finally did come in, the Manager saw a opportunity to clean out that pile of parts and maybe make a few dollars for the company as well. Under the guidance of the plant manager, the engines were assembled after hours away from any assembly line procedure, as this was the best she could do, there was no way it would be profitable to put such a small order onto an assembly line and train the people for every step of QC. The end result were engines assembled with casting sand left in the engines, clearance problems, bearings fitted not quite right, etc, some caused problems early, others are still running happily, but a 10 or 15 percent failure rate is likely devastating news for the Importer.
But this short article is all about screwing yourself, not being screwed.
When you open a Chinese Crate, you’ll often notice a set of cast iron legs bolted to the engine. Without these legs, the engine would be resting on the oil pan, and if the crate is dropped, (which happens) you’d likely crush the oil pan, and perhaps the oil pickup inside.
The shipping legs are adequate for loads from above, but totally inadequate for any side loading.
A lot of folks think they’ve been given a real gift when they open the crate.. a set of engine mounts as a bonus, easy to work with, just run some lag bolts through the feet into some beams, and go!
They don’t think about those tall legs, and the fact they’re cast, they don’t think about the engine’s movement working on that cast till it cracks one day, and eventually the entire leg breaks off. If you’re really unlucky, maybe the flywheel arrests the engines fall, there’s still plenty of fuel, and the engine is unattended, so the flywheel spins while rubbing on that wooden frame, and poof! you finally got a fire going, there’s some oil on those wooden parts too, and all you need do is add a little more fuel. It’s not too long and Murphy steps in to help with the fueling requirement. The plastic fuel line melts, and now you add a few gallons of diesel to the fire! Of course you’re glad it wasn’t gasoline, but your barn still burns down 🙁
There are different versions of the story, one being when the leg broke, the external oil line arrested the fall when it landed up against an electrical box mounted on the frame. Things were not so bad untill the oil line ruptured and the oil pump emptied the sump of all lubricating oil. It’s amazing how these engines will run right up until the piston seizes in the liner, and when you take off the back cover and look at the big end of the rod, you’ll see that beautiful deep blue color!
As you review your decision to use these shipping mounts for engine mounts, you might even recall pictures of these legs being used in Asia somewhere? Now you’re thinking maybe your legs were just not made so well? Nope, there’s people who don’t know better here and in Asia.
In many cases, you might note that a piece of angle iron on the top of your two wooden beams would have allowed you to mount the engine directly to your frame eliminating parts, and now that you study those shipping legs, you note the rather huge loads you put those poor bolts and cast pieces under, especially where the mounts bolted to the engine itself.
Sure, there are other ways to ruin your Chinese Horizontal.
One is to forget to tighten that valve cover bolt! Notice I didn’t say “bolts”, many heads have one only, and if you don’t torque it down good, it can and will (according to Murphy) come loose. Of course if you didn’t engineer a low oil pressure or low oil level shut down, the engine will run until it destroys itself.
Some of these engines run high oil pressures, and your typical oil pressure switches will leak oil and cause a failure all by themselves. This fact creates another topic… How to install an oil filter and a pressure switch that might be used for an alarm or auto shutdown.
Thanks for the email Matt, you are just one of many who mounted your engine with the shipping mounts, and I figured I’d provide a warning here for others to read on the blog.
Years back I had a pile of these legs headed for the scrap yard, a guy in Oregon wanted to buy them. I explained they were designed for shipping, and didn’t think too much about it..now I regret transferring them to him. I wonder how many might have failed in service as engine mounts?
Aren’t we all just learning? Seems the minute you think you got it all figured, reality bites in square in the ass.
All the best,